An Examination of the statements made in the "Thoughts on the Apocalypse," by B. W. Newton; and an enquiry how far they accord with Scripture.

J. N. Darby.

<08001E> File section  10.


It seems an ungracious task to examine what, to many at any rate, will seem only a very beautiful development of the glory and character of the heavenly city. But it is but natural that, when the topic is but description even, and so less liable to error, still that the elements of the general system should be introduced, and thus sanctioned; and we owe it to the word of God, however beautiful language may be, to see whether the thoughts contained in it are scriptural. Now, much of what may seem very beautiful here I find mere unbridled imagination, and the system of the author maintained in its worst points. I would cite here, not as containing any particular evil, but as shewing how mere imagination is at work, the following statement from what may seem perhaps the most elevated part of the description: "Nothing can be more transparent than crystal - nothing more bright than the jasper - nothing more resplendent when fully illumined by the light of God."* What is jasper fully illumined by the light of God? Just nonsense. I do not attach any evil to this: it is just a proof that it is not the Spirit of God, but the imagination, which is in the description.

{*If taken as a symbol, jasper, according to the author, is the divine nature and glory. What is the meaning of that being illumined with the light of God?}

299 The statement that all these glories are diversified presentations of their manifold glory, has been examined more or less when each subject presented itself distinctly. It is quite certain that in the passages where they are found, distinct classes of saints, that is, distinct bodies in distinct circumstances, are spoken of, and their peculiar position in glory connected with and flowing out of these circumstances. This cannot be denied. One has only to read the passages. But then the author is pleased to say that he regards* them as representing the whole church, and that therefore they are to be taken as manifold glories of the same one company. But, not to speak of their standing round the Lamb on Mount Zion, this making some in peculiar circumstances representatives of all is setting aside the government of God - the special object of this book. You might as well say that Lot was a representative of Abraham, or Abraham of Lot, because both were believers and righteous, and therefore equally saved, as these distinct bodies of the whole church. Lot was just a representative of what it was to be not as Abraham. Nor is to be saved "so as by fire" (even to come to everyday circumstances) the same thing as an "abundant entrance into the everlasting kingdom." Having stated that they are all so, it is easy to conclude that "they are all necessary," though all be stated without the least scripture proof. Yet even so, all this (as is the case all through this book) is true for the occasion only. The contrary is stated elsewhere. Here the Lamb on Mount Zion is true indeed as one of the glories, but it does not shew "heaven brought into such close systematic relationship to the earth," as in the heavenly Jerusalem here considered. "It is the vision of the heavenly city that shews us the glory of the saints brought into its closest adaptation to the need of a fallen earth." "If a metropolis, as in this case it is, it becomes, throughout its appointed sphere, the centre from which and through which all vivifying influence is diffused." Elsewhere we read: -

{*See page 317.}

300 "Yet it is in this world that the glory and holiness and happiness of heaven is to be manifested and established." "There is one spot in the earth where the righteousness and joy and blessedness of heaven will be perfectly found, and that spot is the height of Zion." "That Mount Zion, in connection with the earthly Jerusalem, which will be builded around it, will become the centre of the earth's legislation and government," etc., "is again and again declared in scripture."

"It will be the place where heavenly glory will be made visible before the eyes of men. It will be the citadel of Jerusalem's strength, because it will be the place of the presence of the divine glory and omnipotent power."

"We read of the heavenly city at the commencement of the millennium so descending as not to be in heaven (for it descended from God, out of heaven), neither on the earth" … "In other words, it will be intermediate, as the holy place should be," etc. "But the summit of Zion, miraculously exalted above the hills (Isaiah 2) arising from earth as if to meet the heavenly city resting over it in the heavens above, will be the place where heavenly glory will first be brought into real connection with this earth. It will be the citadel of the holy ones, the place where the foot of Jacob's ladder may be said visibly to rest." In pages 195, 196, in a word, the heavenly Jerusalem is intermediate, as it should be. Heavenly glory is brought into real connection with the earth in the one hundred and forty-four thousand with the Lamb on Mount Zion, for the joy and blessedness of heaven will be perfectly found on earth. In page 320 it is the vision of the heavenly city that shews us the glory of the saints brought into the closest adaptation to the need of a fallen earth.

There, it is "the earthly and yet heavenly condition of Zion that fulfils the promises of scripture."

Here it is only one of those "previous visions in which heaven is not brought into such close systematic relationship to the earth."

In a word, the imagination was filled with the summit of Zion miraculously exalted above the hills there, and the heavenly Jerusalem was only intermediate: here it was filled with the latter, and therefore Zion, however it was then the centre and the real connection of heavenly glory with this earth, did not here bring heaven into as close relationship to the earth, nor adaptation to its need as the heavenly city, which then was obliged to take an intermediate place, as it should. In a word, it is all just the sport of the imagination.

301 Besides, association with the earth is not in the least the main subject here, blessed as this may be for the earth, but association with the Lamb, and God's being there. It is not under this aspect that it is first called the bride of the Lamb. That she ministers blessing to the earth is true; but it is a secondary thing at the close. The earth is not mentioned till verse 24 of this chapter, and it is just the first two verses of chapter 22 which give the lovely picture of its associations with the earth in the way of blessing through the leaves of the trees that grew there.

Yet it is stated, "She is however described in this chapter chiefly, I might perhaps say entirely, in relation to the earth." Is that the case? Read only the chapter and see. The city, "the bride, the Lamb's wife," is itself described, and it is not "what she will be to the apprehensions of the millennial saints who dwell upon the earth" which is described; but what she is to the faith and hope of the pre-millennial saints. "I saw no temple therein, for the Lord God Almighty and the Lamb are the temple."

"And the glory of God did lighten it, and the Lamb is the light thereof." She herself is to be the light of the nations, but this is her light, what she enjoys within.

To talk about a metropolis and a centre, "where character is developed, and where habits of thought and action are displayed," so "that this city will be the home of the affections of Christ," perverts, fair as it may seem, the whole chapter. It is what it is for us, its glory and its privileges for us, which is described. Doubtless Christ will delight in His bride. But it is not what it is to Him which is here developed. He is the temple, He the light, with the Lord God Almighty in it. The whole principle of the statement is wrong. And if this be not a revelation of the secrets of her excellent glory (for it is not a question here of children of the Father), where is this revelation? There are particular symbolic blessings for those that overcome in the promises to the churches, but no revelation of the glory of the city. If it be not here, where is it to be found? If we have it here, "as in the distance," "as it were without the walls," where is the account from within? As usual, things are brought down to earth, and we may grope in the dark after all the rest. If it be asserted that the Father's house, and being with Christ there, is a higher feeling, I shall not dispute it, or enter on the point. But if the revelation of the interior blessedness of the heavenly city be not here, where is it?

302 And here in passing I must remark on a statement of page 322. This heavenly Jerusalem becomes "the earth's new centre of light and influence in the stead of" Babylon. Babylon being, according to the author, an earthly city, it ought, surely, to have been earthly Jerusalem. This shews how ill the whole system hangs together. But let that pass. Here the heavenly city is clearly in contrast with the Babylon who corrupted the earth, destroyed quite at the end; and, as he had made that a city on the Euphrates, it is the place of that city that the heavenly Jerusalem must take. This, people will believe as they like. But if "she had been the great result of the wisdom of ages, stimulated and assisted by the skill and energy of Satan," how comes it that when Satan gives his throne and power to one, as to whom "we may conceive his adaptation to his appointed work, and the security which the devil feels in entrusting him therewith, by the readiness with which the dragon resigns to him his throne," who will be "his deputy," not "an unknown stranger, but one already fitted for the place in which he and Satan were together to act, in parity of glory, for a little season," how comes it, I say, that his first act is to destroy and burn with fire "that city which had been emphatically from beneath, which had been the great result of the wisdom of ages, stimulated and assisted by the skill and energy of Satan"? Was he divided against himself? Or how did he raise up this person, together with whom he acts in parity of glory, to destroy this result of the wisdom of ages, stimulated and assisted by his own energy?

And now, which Babylon did the heavenly city take the place of, the system or the city? Hardly the system, because Antichrist had taken the place of that. But then, how was the city as such the result of the wisdom of ages, when its system had all been destroyed? And is it quite fair to say that she, "together with the beast, had ruled the earth for a season," when she had been in this character totally destroyed some years before the heavenly Jerusalem comes on the scene? And the truth is, it is evident that it is the destruction of the city (according to the author's scheme), not of the woman, which is exulted over as making way for the marriage of the Lamb. It is the destruction of chapter 18. But this had never ruled with the beast. It was the mere city. For my own part, I am persuaded that the more the author's system as to Babylon is examined, the more will it be found a complete delusion.

303 Next as to the precious stones. "We have seen them once on the breastplate of the high priest of Israel, the type and pledge of the moral grace and outward glory which should attach, and one day will attach, to all the Israel of God." Where have we seen this? What proof has the reader in his mind? That the city will have the glory of God, and be the brightest creature display of it through union with the glorified Bridegroom, and God's dwelling in the midst of her, is most sure. So far in general I have nothing to say. In general this is attributed to the heavenly city. Her light was like unto a stone most precious. But I do not see that any series of precious stones are used as symbols of the church's glory; and when it is said, "It is no unintelligible emblem to have one's name written on that whose lustre is as enduring as itself, and which shines most when brought into nearest connection with the light of God," on what does the author mean they were written? I suspect strongly that, however easy it may be to say it is no unintelligible emblem, not a single one of his readers understands it. We read of these stones, that He that sat upon the throne was to look upon like a jasper and a sardine stone. It was external glory.

The author says that the city (or rather the light of it, for it was not the city itself) being like a jasper, as well as He that sat on the throne, "teaches us not merely the nature of that brightness, but whence it flows, and where it is preserved for us, and why it will be in us, even because we are in Him that is true, that is, the true God." Now, that as a general truth our being in the Lord is the source of all our blessing every Christian believes. But this is never in any case connected with the lustre of precious stones in Scripture. They are a glory which can be put on. The high priest bore the names engraved on them, but there was nothing intrinsic, no principle of union between God and them, nor the high priest and them as to life at all. We must make the stones mean God and the divine nature, not something illumined by it, to mean this. But they were borne officially by the high priest. Take them as certain qualities put upon them, and I can understand this. This may come from life in us. But then I find the king of Tyre clothed with them (Ezek. 28). Were they the proof there, or do they teach us there, that he was in Him that is true, that is, the true God? Every precious stone was his covering. Apply this to Satan or what you will, it cannot mean what the author says it teaches us. The jasper, or any other stone, does not imply being in Him that is true. It is glory, and not partaking of nature, because we find it when the divine nature certainly was not partaken of. God was to look upon like this, and the light of the city was like this. Glory is always the idea attached to these stones. The priests' garments (and priesthood is not union, though union may co-exist with it) were for glory and beauty. The wall of the city was jasper. This, whatever it was, was her everlasting defence and security.

304 The paved work under the feet of the God of Israel was like a sapphire stone, as the body of heaven in its clearness. So the throne was as a sapphire in Ezekiel 1. This was hardly the divine nature, whatever the instrument of the displayed glory. And the reader must remember that the jasper and the sardine stone were affirmed of the glory in which the Lord was seen on the throne, as the first and last of the series on the breastplate of the high priest, to shew that all were included.* And, if we are to take in general "the symbolic meaning of precious stones" given by the author, what is the meaning of Babylon's being decked with precious stones? It is evident, if Scripture be examined, even leaving aside Babylon,** that the statement of the author is quite wrong. It is again his imagination, and not the word of God. That the stones displayed, not pure light, but what could be displayed of the glory of God in or as seen by a creature, I believe: whether presented to God covenantly as such on the breastplate of the high priest, or identified with the foundations of the city, or in general that one which is specially used as designating the glory of God, and therefore is used of the light of the whole city itself. But here I stop, and I do not think I say too much in saying I do not believe others go much farther.

{*Page 40.}

{**I leave aside Babylon, because I think it may be justly argued that precious stones are there used in a lower and more carnal sense. But the author's statement is without limitation.}

305 But I object much to the use made of the symbol here. It is affirmed of the whole of what the author calls, but Scripture does not, "the Israel of God." Of this, as usual, no proof is given. It is attached, so far as that even is the case, to the city. Its light was like unto a stone most precious. But it is never described itself by the glory and brightness of these stones. Next, it is said, "the church of the firstborn, when the time comes for the heavenly city to descend, will have been brought into full realised union with Him, had been made recipients of His fulness; and will therefore shine according to His excellency. He who is Light will be there; and there will be nothing in her to hinder, nothing to dim, the pure effulgence of His glory."

As to this oft-repeated expression, "Church of the firstborn," it is always used to convey the idea that the scripture uses the term church in a larger and more general sense. This is not the case. The most extended idea given of the church is where this is used, firstborn being a title of the whole body called the church. The expression "church of the firstborn" is found in Hebrews 12:23. "The general assembly* and church of the firstborn who are written in heaven" - the fullest, largest expression about the church in Scripture. The word translated general assembly means the "assembly of a whole nation," especially for a public festival, or the like. And to make of firstborn a distinctive special limitation of a certain class, who come in before others, is a mere delusion. It is the character and privilege of the only body called the church in Scripture (that is, God's assembly in the Christian sense of it).

{*This is not exact if the original text be looked to. The Greek word for "and" divides each particular; an innumerable company of angels the general assembly, and the church of the firstborn whose names are written in heaven. But the general reasoning is all right.}

Next, why is it said we are brought then into full realised union with Him? We are now, though we have not the redemption of the body, nor consequently the display of glory. And why made recipients then of His fulness? We are now, "and grace for grace." Just in the same way it is said, pages 329, 330, "How angels may learn therein the manifold wisdom of God." The scripture emphatically says that they are learning it now. When it is said, nothing will dim the pure effulgence of His glory, it is not true that the reflex of His glory in us will be what we see it face to face. Those on earth will not in that earthly state so see it, and could not; as far as a united glorified creature can manifest it, they will. No doubt they will see in us all that can be conferred in the highest way possible on those who are not one with the Father, Himself God as well as with God; for this is true of the incarnate One only, and therefore He is our light in the city. But, while we bear the image of the heavenly man, this is not to others the glory of God as we see it; and there is something more bright than the jasper (if we must take it so in the creature) when illumined by the light of God, and that is the light of God which illumines it, a light spoken of as in the city in this description, while the nations walk in the light of the city. That which is really essentially precious to us is denied in page 321, and merged in our glory here in page 323. Further, it is never said "She will be the temple of the whole earth" anywhere, nor anything about it, though naos be inserted in Greek as if accurately to explain it.

306 "Of the Lamb," attached to "the bride," is no particular expression of grace in her, but distinguishes her from, and contrasts her with, the King's wife. She was identified with Jesus considered as suffering, not as reigning on the earth, and now therefore she reigns with Him. The millennial saints on earth never will be identified with them in this character. The Lamb's wrath is spoken of as well as His grace. It is the character in which He glorified God in suffering, and the church has been identified with Him in that character of humiliation, in which He came when He came to take away sin. I do not doubt that the heavenly Jerusalem is characterised by the ministration of grace. Still I think, with much beauty of language, the teaching of these pages as to her is not of God's Spirit. "The avenues of sorrow are stopped," it is not said by whom, "and the workings of death checked by the ministration of a more abundant power of life." One might have supposed that this flowed from God and the Lamb, though ministered by the bride. But it is from her they are ministered: "the ministration of blessings from her is unceasing." They are said indeed to be ministered through her, and while, of course, the author cannot deny the plain statement of Scripture that the river came from the throne of God and the Lamb, yet there is complete confusion in the explanatory statement, "There is one that yearneth to give, and need crying to receive; and stores inexhaustible to be given, and grace that has removed every hindrance." In whom is the love that yearns to give, and grace, and inexhaustible stores?

307 Of course the inhabitants of earth cannot enter into the heavenly city. But here the priests of Israel (i.e., the risen church of the firstborn), are again introduced, which we have so often seen to be a mere picture of the author's mind, founded on a misapprehension of Greek. Besides, following out this symbol or figure as if it were a real city is all mere confusion. The city is the bride, the Lamb's wife. And, therefore, though it may be said in a general way no one shall enter into it but those who are written in the Lamb's book of life, as shewing who can be there, and though there will be visible glory, yet when the author speaks of the priests of Israel, etc., entering into the city, it sets aside the whole force of the symbols. The city was a symbol of them in the state of glory, as it is considered, page 323, by the author himself. The jasper glory of the city is the display of the divine nature in us. "It will be in us." This is just the effect of the imagination out-running the divine use of a figure or symbol.

Again, we have the names of the twelve tribes to prove its relation to them, though there is not one word of relation to Jerusalem in the passage. Their names may shew God's recognition of His ways with that nation which is the object of His electing love, as the names of the twelve apostles His recognition of them in their place; but surely not its standing in a present relation to the apostles; and if not, not to the tribes either. And again, we find their priesthood when only nations are spoken of, so that it was not their priesthood that was wanted. This would have made a sort of double intervention. The Gentiles come to the Jews at Jerusalem, and then their priesthood present their homage. But the truth is, it is all the picture of the imagination. There is not one word about the church being Israel's priesthood; nor is there any possible connection between Deuteronomy 32:8, and this idea. What has setting the bounds of the people to do with the church being Israel's priesthood, and the people coming to Jerusalem to obtain its intervention?

Nor is it ever said that the order, dignities, and regulations, of the nations will flow through Israel. Christ is King of nations, as well as King of the Jews, and though the Jews will be the royal nation, so that they will have special dignity, it is not said that the dignities of the nations will flow through them.

308 Page 329 too, fair as it seems, is all confusion - a confusion of the type and the fact. It is true that the law gave but a shadow and not the very image of the things; and indeed the temple, though never alluded to in detail in the New Testament as a type (because we are in the wilderness), was much more a figure of millennial heavenly blessings, and then the priests did walk on gold. But here, if the priests in the holy place typified the presence of the saints in heaven as Israel's intercessors, does the author mean that they will be in an imperfect heaven, or that they were a type of men partly on earth, partly in heaven, that is, not really in the heavenly courts at all? "Not themselves standing in the power thereof, nor in competency of action thereunto." In type or in reality? Nor can it be said that he uses it of the present state of the church, which is in heaven in spirit, but in reality on earth, because in the most holy place it was the high priest alone went, who typified Christ in heaven itself for us now, entered with His own blood. Does he stand not in the power thereof, nor in competency of action thereunto? Yet he stood on earth as much as the others. Nor is it anywhere said that they stood unshod. And if they stood unshod, it was just because the place was holy - in that sense answering to gold; not because it was upon the earth. The whole statement is a mere confusion of ideas.

Were they unshod because they had a foot that fears "contrast with the transparent purity on which it treads"? They washed their hands and their feet for every service, to signify the purity needed. But it is merely images heaped together without any connection.

The figurative idea of a city is kept up throughout; but, to follow out the image attempted here, it is not the streets which should have been of gold, but the feet should have been spoken of. But Scripture, while affording by perfect types the general thoughts which give perfect blessing to the soul, never puts them together as if it were a pictorial consistency of type. Nobody would know where to put the ten horns on the seven heads of the beast. It is united in its meaning in the mind, but not in the eye for us. Here, in the city, it was a cube, that is, perfection every way, height, length, breadth, equal. That is an image which presents perfection in the city. But each was twelve thousand stadia, that is one thousand five hundred miles long, broad, and high. But the wall of the city was a hundred and forty-four cubits, or over two hundred feet high. The moment you pass beyond the spiritual idea asserted by the one type given, you spoil all: and this is what the author has done in another way. He has confounded different sets of types together and mixed all up with the natural fact (if indeed it be a fact, and which, if it be, meant the contrary of what it is here used for) and thus has made a string of statements which may move the feelings, but, when examined calmly, mean really nothing at all.

309 I have already noticed that it is now angels learn by the church the manifold wisdom of God. As to worlds and new beings being dependent on the place, one has only to repeat what the author says to check, as he uses it to fill, the imagination - "We know not."

I hardly know what means "commissioned to act in the power of the same love." Is it meant with as great love?

There is another statement in this page 330 which tends to maintain a false view of service. The prospects of the world are Babylon, Antichrist, judgment. They afford an occasion of watchfulness, service, and testimony.

The blessing, the throne, the heavenly city, reigning with Christ - are the church's portion.

But is it only the evil that gives occasion for watchfulness, service, and testimony? And why is Christ's coming excluded from the prospects of the church as given in this book? Is there no watchfulness connected with that? Is all our watchfulness connected only with evil?

It must be remembered that the vision of chapter 90, of the word of God, etc., is declared by the author not to be Christ's coming. The prospects and the consequence of those prospects are most untruly given here, taken as a whole, or as to the truth of the consequences, and a very false idea of the true Christian position as regards them. We are as men that watch for our Lord. It is not merely Antichrist and Babylon make us watchful, though we have to watch against evil. Our service and testimony ought to be much more about Christ and His coming, and the glory with Him, than about the evil. Testimony against anything is not the grand subject of the Spirit's testimony; and a service and a testimony which are only against evil is a miserable service. And a watchfulness about Babylon and Antichrist is not the waiting for the Bridegroom which characterises, or ought to characterise, the church of God.

310 And now as to the words "He that is unjust, let him be unjust still," etc. Is it not very plain that these words must refer to some time definitely, when the day of grace properly speaking is over? They mean that, as the author does not deny. There may be some difficulty, at least at the point of attainment where we all are in interpreting the Apocalypse, in giving the precise application of the passage. But how does the fact of their having passed the lips of Jesus mark "the time when they will be fully ratified as being very nigh," when eighteen centuries have elapsed since they were uttered? Or how is it that it means at the same time, "that from that hour forward, even till the day of His appearing, there should be no change in the general aspect of mankind"? That is, how is it a proof that the date of its commencement was nigh, and at the same time that it was to be counted in another sense from that hour? That is, moreover, that it proved that an immense change (no less a change than the cessation of the day of grace, and having "the doom of each irrevocably fixed") would soon take place, "was nigh," and at the same time that from that hour (the then present hour), forward … there should be no change in the general aspect of mankind? It suited the system of the author to have it as a proof of vagueness of "nigh," and that everything would remain unchanged till Christ's actual appearing; though he has taught in this book that meanwhile such a total apostasy would come in as that not only Christianity, but the owning of God as Creator, or in any way, would cease in these very countries. Does not that change somewhat the general aspect of mankind? Or, if it does not, what does? Or how would they remain in all essential features what at that hour they were?

If at any rate this has any real force, it is quite clear that it warrants the looking for Jesus at all times. That is, that as there were many Antichrists, and the churches had begun to fail in their testimony, nothing now remains but the interference of His own hand. So that, whatever might happen to Jews or others, the church might look for the close of its history at once. For it is evidently to it that Antichrists and failing testimony apply here.

311 The truth is, there are three statements at the close of the Apocalypse, of Christ's coming quickly: two in connection with the topics of the book more or less, and one after they are quite closed and the church is on the scene in its ordinary hopes and character. (1) Chapter 22:7 is a general statement, connected with the blessing of minding the warnings given in this book. (2) Then verse 10, where, contrary to the direction to Daniel to seal his prophecy, the prophet is forbidden to seal it, for the time is at hand. And then it is stated that (not the general aspect of mankind, but) the personal condition of individuals was to remain unaltered. And this connects the coming of Christ, not with the blessing of minding His prophetic testimony, but with the individual judgment of men according to their work. Then (3), after a closing address to the church and the answer of the Spirit thereon, His quick coming is affirmed, and the apostle answers in his own person in desire by the Spirit that He should. I should say, in reading these passages, that first there were those separated in testimony to blessing - not the churches now, they were done with as things "that are," but such as gave heed to the prophetic testimony, and that then, subsequent to that, it was solely judgment; that men would be left in their then condition to be judged, in two classes on either side, unrighteous ones and filthy ones, and righteous ones and holy ones; and then the statement closes with saying that He is Alpha and Omega. The subsequent part is composed of closing remarks about the book.

As to the reading, "wash their robes," instead of "keep his commandments," I do not oppose the reading. Griesbach and Scholz, however, do not admit it: nor Knapp. Tischendorf adopts it, and Tregelles.*

{*The evidence is this: -

Three MSS out of about a hundred have the new reading, one slightly varying, and the Vulgate (at least the Editions of the Vulgate), which adds, however, words not found in the MSS. The MSS Vulgate appear to want the added words. Of the three MSS which have "wash their robes," one is ancient. (Of the two other ancient ones, one wants the passage, the other is not cited.) One of the two other MSS which have the new reading almost always agrees with the ancient one which has it: the other is of the same family, as it is called. It is to be supposed that all the other MSS which do not want the passage favour the other reading. In this state of things I do not pretend to decide. It is a question of the authority of the three Alexandrian MSS against a large majority of those called Constantinopolitan. The African fathers read "keep his commandments." [Codex Sinaiticus reads "washed their robes," and I suppose it is the true reading altered by the church when redemption was forgotten, and works pretended to.]}

312 There yet remains the meaning of the root and offspring of David, and the bright and morning star.

As to the root and offspring of David, I have nothing to say. I do not believe the force given to the expression exact; but there is nothing which in principle affects materially any interpretation.

But it is then stated, "He has other essential glories of His own. 'Before Abraham was I AM.' He is 'the root and offspring of David, AND the bright and morning star.'" This, if it means anything means that the bright and morning star means the essentially divine nature and glory of Christ - that in virtue of which He calls Himself "I am." The appearing of the star then is the appearing of this essentially divine nature. Does the reader believe that this is the meaning of the star? - that "I will give him the morning star" means, I will give him my essential glory, that by which I can say, Before Abraham was, I AM? In pages 150, 151 we read, "when Christ first appears in the fulness of divine glory, in the 'glory of the Father, His own glory, and the glory of the holy angels,' He is symbolised by the star; 'I am the bright and morning star.' 'To him that overcometh will I give the morning star,' i.e., association with Himself in this high character of glory." So that here we find that the Father's glory, Christ's essential glory as I AM, the glory of the holy angels, are given to us. Associated with Him in it is a vague expression. The Son of man is to come in this glory. The glory given to Him He has given to us. But what is given is not essential. What He receives as Son of man He communicates to us; but what He has essentially as I AM, most surely He does not. His glory He will not give to another. But it is never said the star means this. It is never said Christ appears as the star. All this is an entirely unscriptural use of the symbol. In the passage referred to above I have commented on the use of it, and I do not repeat it here.

But, if the use of this symbol be examined, the statements of the author will be found complete confusion. It is easy to say "the star," and so by our natural idea of star give an idea of what is distant and unearthly. But it is not the "star," but the "morning star" which is in question, which is a wholly different expression and association of ideas - not the least what is distant and unearthly, but something that brings the idea of the day near, associated with the coming joy of the day. It is not even really a star, nor associated in thought with stars.

313 Further, if we turn to "stars," they are quite foreign to what is divine or supreme.* They fall from heaven to denote confusion. They are wormwood, and make the rivers bitter. In this last case (page 115) it is called "bringing superhuman agency now operating in another sphere, and subserving the arrangements of the divine order in the created heavens, into destructive application to the earth."** Then they are stated "to be continually employed to represent the saints in their resurrection glory, when they will rule over the world." But the author has forgotten here that this will be the benign reign of the sun. But to return to the use of it here. "It will be the sudden visitation of strange and distant glory, suddenly breaking upon the abyss of darkness beneath." Now is there one single idea of this found in the morning star? or in anything ever said about it? Or how does it suddenly break upon the abyss of darkness? Is that the way the morning star appears?

{*In pages 332, 333, we read, "He has other essential glories of His own. Before Abraham was, I AM. He is the root and offspring of David, AND the bright and Morning Star. I have already spoken of the star as the symbol of distant and unearthly glories, etc. It is in such glory, strictly unearthly and divine, that Jesus will come. It will be the true light of God's own glory," etc. Compare this with page 115, where we find it employed to symbolise evil spirits, and saints in resurrection glory.